Hasm Movement - Photo compiled by Egypt Today
CAIRO – 2 July 2018: A military court adjourned Monday the trial of 304 defendants over charges including attempting to assassinate Assistant General Prosecutor Zakaria Abdel Aziz to July 9, to hear witnesses.
The defendants are accused of being part of Hasm group designated last January by the U.S. Treasury Department as a terrorist movement.
In January 2017, Egypt's High State Security Prosecution referred 304 people to Military Prosecution for their membership in Hasm, which is charged with committing 14 attacks targeting security forces and public figures over the second half of 2016.
The Military Prosecution referred in October the defendants, including member of the Brotherhood's guidance office, Mohammed Ali Beshr, to military trial.
Hasm is an Islamist militant group operating in Egypt. In Arabic, the word “Hasm” means decisiveness. Hasm has been associated with nearly every terrorist attack in Egypt during the last year.
Hasm group is reportedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which is deemed illegal in Egypt. However, the Brotherhood’s media spokesman, Talaat Fahmi, denied the Brotherhood’s links to Hasm to Turkish-led Anadul agency in December 2016. He said the Brotherhood could never be linked to those who commit violent acts that lead to bloodshed.
Tal’at Habib, a researcher and expert on Islamic movements, told Egypt Today that Hasm is directly linked to the Brotherhood’s members and leaders, directly slamming Fahmi’s statement. Habib cited a Hasm statement that came out after top Brotherhood leader Mohamed Kamal’s death in October 2016. They vowed revenge for his killing.
Hasm's first statement was issued in July 2016 when the group claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior policeman named Mahmoud Abdel Hamid in Fayoum. Abdel Hamid was the head of the investigations department in Fayoum’s Tamya district.
According to Habib, Hasm is the crystallized form of militant groups that grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as the Ikhwan Brigades and the Popular Resistance. The group formed after the violent dispersal during the Rabaa and al-Nahda sit-ins in July 2013.
“Hasm’s methods and techniques are mainly primitive and of minimal costs,” Habib said. He added that they also get some of their arms by stealing them from police stations and ambushes.
Since its beginnings, Hasm has maintained a strategy of targeting policemen, not civilians. The group’s members have been involved in attacking several checkpoints and killing policemen stationed there. Their most recent attack took place on July 7, 2017. The attack targeted a police van and left one police officer and three recruits dead in Giza.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Abdel Maguid